Chicago police increase patrols after fights at city beaches

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CHICAGO -- Chicago police debuted a new patrol unit that will focus on enforcement on the city's beaches and parks Wednesday, a new spin on an old concept. In 2012, Chicago police deployed a summer mobile unit, but it only targeted the lakefront.

The team pulls a few officers from every normal unit in the city so there is no overtime involved. They bid for these spots to protect people in parks and on beaches this summer.

The move comes after there were multiple fights at beaches including the one at North Avenue. On Friday, four people were hurt and three arrested. And a large brawl broke out on Memorial Day.

“Everyone was having a good time and then all of a sudden you hear ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ punching each other and everything,” said Kaylee Fleury, who witnessed the fight.

On Monday night at Oak Street Beach, police arrested 18-year-old Maurio Young of South Hammond for allegedly pointing a loaded gun at another man during an argument and pulling the trigger. The gun malfunctioned and it didn't fire.

Today, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson unveiled a new summer mobile patrol unit. More than 100 officers on ATVs, horseback, Segways, and bikes will focus on enforcement at beaches and parks, and respond to isolated violence in neighborhoods as needed.

“Historically Chicago has faced challenges during the summer months with violence and CPD is ready to face the challenge to promote community stabilization and allow children to enjoy a safe summer vacation,” Johnson said.

Superintendent Johnson says the mobile patrol unit will also look to crack down on alcohol use at beaches, which police say contributed to the large Memorial Day brawl. Today, we saw officers ticketing one group of young people at North Avenue beach.

“My expectation is this is one more tool in our tool belt to keep the residents of Chicago safe,” Johnson said.

The mobile unit will patrol through Labor Day weekend. Superintendent Johnson said to also expect an announcement this week on increased traffic enforcement on Lake Shore Drive this summer.

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